Capitol Correspondence - 07.16.18

Congress Reacts to ACL Principal Deputy Administrator’s Recent Comments on Olmstead

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U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) sent a letter to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) requesting more information on recent comments made by Principal Deputy Administrator Mary Lazare. The letter states:

“We have received reports that in meetings this week with disability organizations, Ms. Lazare stated her belief that the Olmstead decision was wrongly decided and that she favored ‘reinstitutionalization’ and ‘segregation’ of persons with disabilities. While we have not seen an actual transcript of her comments, Ms. Lazare has issued an apology of sorts that can be found on the Administration for Community Living (ACL) website:

‘Mary Lazare: I regret & apologize for my words at the #ASAconfl18. ACL believe ppl w/ disabilities have the right & choice to live in the community. We work to expand these opptys & are 100% committed to that mission. We also recognize Olmstead gives people the right to other choices.’

The last sentence of this apology raises further concerns for us as it suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of Olmstead Decision which has nothing to do with maintaining choice and everything to do with viewing segregation of people with disabilities as a violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”